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2020 NFL Trade Deadline: The Minnesota Vikings took a gamble, and now they have to bottom out

Sep 20, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer looks on from the sideline in the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings had one of the more eventful offseasons in the NFL, both in terms of players added and players let go. Their roster overhaul was capped off right before the season started when they made a blockbuster deal with the Jaguars, sending a second-round pick to Jacksonville for edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue. The drama continued yesterday when Minnesota flipped Ngakoue to the Baltimore Ravens for a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick.

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Minnesota effectively will have ended up trading pick No. ~40 for pick No. ~90 for the right to pay Ngakoue around $7 million for six games.

Based on comments from Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, it seems that Minnesota thought Danielle Hunter would be back sooner to complete a ferocious edge-rushing tandem. Nevertheless, in a year in which Minnesota had lofty aspirations, it has instead gotten off to a rough start, with its young and injury-depleted defense getting dominated for stretches of games almost every week.

Already down two stars in Hunter and Anthony Barr and with their big free-agent addition — defensive tackle Michael Pierce — opting out before the season, the Vikings are having a very hard time generating a pass rush. Head coach Mike Zimmer’s remarkable ability to scheme up pressure was presumably the plan to help the Vikings' young cornerbacks develop, but without the defensive line hurrying opposing quarterbacks, they’ve been able to comfortably stand in the pocket and find the open target.

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